Is this what Bush meant my an"ownership society"?
Who would have thought that it would be the Republicans who brought socialism to America? Of course they are only offering to "socialize" the risk, the profits will still be privatized. What rock have all of the libertarians and free market advocates crawled under?
These are the freest, of free market institutions, which now asking for a government handout. I don't ever want to hear about "trusting the market"again, and don't even think about putting my social security in these folks hands.
No blank check for Wall Street.
Congress is on the brink of making a one-sided deal to give George W. Bush a blank check to bail
out his pals - offering nearly (or perhaps more than) a trillion taxpayer dollars to Wall Street to cover its bad debts. That works out to somewhere between $2000 and $5000 from every American family. So what do the taxpayers get in return?
Nothing. No new regulation or oversight to help avoid this kind of crisis in the future. No public interest givebacks to help people whose homes are in the hands of the banks. Perhaps most shockingly of all, the taxpayers get absolutely no share in the profits if and when these finance giants bounce back, even though we are now assuming a great deal of the risk.
This is worse than a bad deal - this isn't a deal at all. This is a blank check to some of the richest companies in the world.
I just signed a petition calling on key members of Congress to impose a few sensible conditions to this bailout in order to protect the American people -- I hope you will too.
Click here to take action.
What Wall Street Should Do To Get Its Blank Check
By Robert Reich - September 21, 2008, 1:48PM
The frame has been set, the die cast. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, presumably representing the Bush administration but indirectly representing Wall Street, and Fed Chief Ben Bernanke, want a blank check from Congress for $700 billion or possibly a trillion dollars or more to take bad debt off Wall Street's balance sheets. Never before in the history of American capitalism has so much been asked of so many for (at least in the first instance) so few.
Put yourself in the shoes of a member of Congress, including our two presidential candidates. The Treasury Secretary and Fed Chair have told you this is necessary to save the economy. If you don't agree, you risk a meltdown of the entire global financial system. Your own constituents' savings could go down with it. An election is six weeks away. Besides, in the last two days of trading, since rumors spread that the Treasury and the Fed were planning something of this sort, stock prices revived.
Now - quick -- what do you do? You have no choice but to say yes.
But you might also set some conditions on Wall Street.
The public doesn't like a blank check. They think this whole bailout idea is nuts. They see fat cats on Wall Street who have raked in zillions for years, now extorting in effect $2,000 to $5,000 from every American family to make up for their own nonfeasance, malfeasance, greed, and just plain stupidity. Wall Street's request for a blank check comes at the same time most of the public is worried about their jobs and declining wages, and having enough money to pay for gas and food and health insurance, meet their car payments and mortgage payments, and save for their retirement and childrens' college education. And so the public is asking: Why should Wall Street get bailed out by me when I'm getting screwed?
So if you are a member of Congress, you just might be in a position to demand from Wall Street certain conditions in return for the blank check.
My five nominees:
1. The government (i.e. taxpayers) gets an equity stake in every Wall Street financial company proportional to the amount of bad debt that company shoves onto the public. So when and if Wall Street shares rise, taxpayers are rewarded for accepting so much risk.
2. Wall Street executives and directors of Wall Street firms relinquish their current stock options and this year's other forms of compensation, and agree to future compensation linked to a rolling five-year average of firm profitability. Why should taxpayers feather their already amply-feathered nests?
3. All Wall Street executives immediately cease making campaign contributions to any candidate for public office in this election cycle or next, all Wall Street PACs be closed, and Wall Street lobbyists curtail their activities unless specifically asked for information by policymakers. Why should taxpayers finance Wall Street's outsized political power - especially when that power is being exercised to get favorable terms from taxpayers?
4. Wall Street firms agree to comply with new regulations over disclosure, capital requirements, conflicts of interest, and market manipulation. The regulations will emerge in ninety days from a bi-partisan working group, to be convened immediately. After all, inadequate regulation and lack of oversight got us into this mess.
5. Wall Street agrees to give bankruptcy judges the authority to modify the terms of primary mortgages, so homeowners have a fighting chance to keep their homes. Why should distressed homeowners lose their homes when Wall Streeters receive taxpayer money that helps them keep their fancy ones?
Wall Streeters may not like these conditions. Well, you should tell them that the public doesn't like the idea of bailing out Wall Street. So if Wall Street doesn't accept these conditions, it doesn't get the blank check.